Max tops qualifying Down Under: 'Very happy with my lap and pole position'
Published on 01 April 2023 by Mike Motilall
Max Verstappen took home pole position for the Australian Grand Prix. The current Formula 1-world champion topped the board in all three sessions. He hopes to take top step in Albert Park this Sunday after his third place finish in 2019. When the flag dropped, Mercedes surprised friend and foe as George Russell and Lewis Hamilton came in second and third.
After qualifying, Max said the following: “My last run in qualifying was very good. The whole weekend has been very tough to get the tyres in the right window to push straight away. It all worked out well in Q3. I am very happy with the lap and of course very happy to be on pole position.”
Looking ahead to the race, which will be on Sunday 7.00 hrs local Dutch time, Verstappen continues: “I am already looking forward to tomorrow actually. I think tomorrow we’ll have a good race car but then again it’s quite tricky on the tyres to keep them alive. So it’s going to be an interesting race.”
Whether Max is confident that he can go for the win tomorrow, he replies: I have been on the podium once in Melbourne, but I want to be on a different step this time.
Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix gets underway in dry conditions but not without the threat of a rain shower. The sun is barely visible and there is a strong wind on the semi-street circuit in Melbourne. While Max starts his first fast lap with just eleven minutes remaining on the clock, the red flag is dropped because Oracle Red Bull Racing-team mate Sergio Perez locks up in Turn three and gets stuck in the gravel trap. Today has been nothing short of a nightmare for the Mexican, who also had a very eventful third free practice.
When Max eventually gets the chance to put in a decent time on the board, it’s immediately the quickest, a 1:18.063. He manages to even better that to a 1:17.384 (P1). Local hero Oscar Piastri is sixteenth and the first one to dropout. Others who also failed to make the cut in Q1 are: Zhou Guanyu, Logan Sargeant, Valtteri Bottas and of course Perez.
In Q2, Max does a 1:17.219 which he then improves to a 1:17.056. The two-time Formula 1-world champion is once again topping the leaderboard, this time ahead of Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz. Drivers who failed to make the top ten are: Esteban Ocon in P11, and behind him Yuki Tsunoda, Lando Norris, Kevin Magnussen and Nyck de Vries (P15).
In the final part of qualifying, the remaining drivers compete for pole position. Max’ first flying lap is not perfect (1:17.578) but with a 1:17.262 he narrowly manages to come out on top, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. With still some time remaining on the clock, the final run gets underway. Max does 1:16.732. A very clean lap earns Verstappen the pole. Mercedes surprisingly comes in second and third with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso puts his Aston Martin in fourth, ahead of Carlos Sainz.
|1||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:17.384||1:17.056||1:16.732|
|4||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:17.832||1:17.283||1:17.139|
|6||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:17.873||1:17.616||1:17.308|
|8||Alexander Albon||ALB||Williams Mercedes||1:17.962||1:17.761||1:17.609|
|9||Pierre Gasly||GAS||Alpine Renault||1:18.312||1:17.574||1:17.675|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||HUL||Haas Ferrari||1:18.029||1:17.412||1:17.735|
|11||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||1:17.770||1:17.768|
|12||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:18.471||1:18.099|
|13||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||1:18.243||1:18.119|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||1:18.159||1:18.129|
|15||Nyck De Vries||DEV||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:18.450||1:18.335|
|16||Oscar Piastri||PIA||McLaren Mercedes||1:18.517|
|17||Zhou Guanyu||ZHO||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:18.540|
|18||Logan Sargeant||SAR||Williams Mercedes||1:18.557|
|19||Valtteri Bottas||BOT||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:18.714|
|0||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||---|